Clause 2 - Animals to which the import prohibition relates

Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill – in the House of Commons at 10:15 am on 17 March 2023.

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Amendment made: 1, page 2, line 6, leave out from “Regulation,” to end of line 20.—(Sir Bill Wiggin.)

This amendment would remove the power of the Secretary of State to vary by statutory instrument the species to which this Act applies.

Third Reading

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley 10:18, 17 March 2023

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I am extraordinarily grateful to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and to all hon. and right hon. Members who have been present today to ensure that we support the conservation of some of the world’s most endangered species—not only iconic species from Africa, such as lions, giraffes and rhinoceroses, but those from other parts of the world, such as polar bears in North America. To be clear, the territorial extent of this Bill is Great Britain. It is about disallowing the importation of the hunted body parts of endangered species.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead

As my hon. Friend knows, I support the Bill, and it is great news that it will be passed today with so much support. His point is critical, as there has been a lot of false information. This Bill is about our territorial rules. It is not about telling other countries what to do, and it is not colonial. It is saying what we will allow into our country; it is entirely up to other countries what they want to do. This is about us and this House.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his intervention, and he anticipates some of the remarks I was about to make. This Bill is about the values we in Britain have: we do not want to be part of a trade in the body parts of endangered species. We are not telling other countries how to run their trade, conservation or hunting policies, although we may have a range of personal opinions on that. It is important to remember that. This is about those CITES appendices I and II species, almost 6,000 species of flora and fauna, that are endangered. We hope that this legislation, when enacted, can play a part in conserving them.

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Conservative, East Yorkshire

My hon. Friend has been generous in allowing amendments to the Bill. Has he received any assurances from my hon. Friends the Members for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) and for North Herefordshire (Sir Bill Wiggin) that, as he has accepted the amendments, they will not divide the House on Third Reading? As he knows, I support the Bill and hope it goes through without a Division.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I sincerely hope that that is the case.

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Chair, Committee of Selection, Chair, Committee of Selection, Chair, Committee of Selection

I love the way the House is listening carefully to this debate. I can confirm that there is no need to divide the House. This measure is a manifesto commitment and we are fulfilling it. We have improved the Bill and I am tremendously grateful to the Government for their help.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that contribution. He rightly says that this legislation is a manifesto commitment. Indeed, it is one that all major parties in this House have signed up to, and that is an important point to stress. I sincerely hope that the other place will hear what this elected House has said on this legislation.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Independent, Islington North

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on the work he has done to get the Bill thus far and I hope it goes through today. Perhaps he will join the rest of us in congratulating those many campaigners all around the country who have worked so hard to draw attention to the issue of trophy hunting and ensure that we have such a good attendance here today. That in itself becomes an education to people, in understanding that we can play our part in the conservation of beautiful and endangered species by passing this Bill today.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his contribution. He is right to say that a clear majority of people in this country—opinion polls show between 80% and 90% support—want to see this legislation go through. The people of this country care passionately about conservation and the environment, and protecting endangered species. It has taken a long campaign by many people, from many different backgrounds, to ensure that this legislation has come before Parliament. I reiterate my hope that that will be heard across Central Lobby, in the other place, when this legislation leaves this House later this morning, as we hope it will, and goes there for consideration, because time is of the essence to help protect endangered species.

There are many excellent private Members’ Bills before the House today, so I do not want to take any more time and delay them. I am grateful to everyone who has supported this legislation—

Photo of Christina Rees Christina Rees Labour/Co-operative, Neath

Timing is everything in life. Will the hon. Gentleman join me in commending Eduardo Goncalves for founding the Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting and revealing the sordid world of killing sentient animals for entertainment? There is massive support in my constituency for the Bill and I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on introducing it.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

I am grateful for that message of congratulations and for highlighting Eduardo and the campaign efforts he has led for so many years to achieve this conservation effort.

Photo of Bob Stewart Bob Stewart Conservative, Beckenham

I have a quick point to make. I find it distasteful to have heads on walls, but I believe those heads that are already on walls and rugs that are already down are not affected by this Bill at all.

Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Conservative, Crawley

This legislation takes effect from when it is passed and receives Royal Assent; it is not retrospective in that sense. With that, I ask Members to support the Bill on Third Reading.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit) 10:24, 17 March 2023

I wish to make only a brief speech. My party is totally committed to the Bill. In fact, I was pleased to be a sponsor and to have served on the Committee. My one disappointment is that, because of the Government’s existing arrangements with the EU—past and future EU law will apply to Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland remains part of the EU single market—this Bill cannot apply to Northern Ireland. That means that those who wish to go trophy hunting and reside in Northern Ireland can bring their trophies back. To be part of the United Kingdom, but yet to find a law which, although supported by more than 86% of the UK population, cannot apply in one part of the UK is an offence; it is offensive to me and it is offensive to many of my constituents who wrote to me asking me to support this legislation.

Secondly, there is a danger. The fact is that UK law cannot apply in part of the United Kingdom. The stark reality is that, as a result of Northern Ireland remaining part of the EU single market and EU law still applying there, Northern Ireland could become a backdoor for those who wish to circumvent this legislation. People could bring their trophies into Northern Ireland and, because there is frictionless trade from Northern Ireland to GB, could then take them into Great Britain. I would like to hear from the Minister on this matter, which was raised in Committee. I understand that the promoter of the Bill was not able to provide an answer on this, because it is a matter that the Minister should have been addressing. I would like to have an assurance on this. My preference of course is that Northern Ireland’s position within the United Kingdom is fully restored, by neither the protocol nor the Windsor framework. In the absence of that, I would like to hear from the Minister what steps she intends to take to ensure that this very important, well-supported, worthwhile piece of legislation cannot be circumvented because we have left part of the United Kingdom half in the European Union.

Photo of Anthony Browne Anthony Browne Conservative, South Cambridgeshire 10:27, 17 March 2023

I wish to put on record my strong support for the Bill. As a former environment editor of The Observer and of The Times, I have written a lot about the conservation of African endangered species, and, as a private individual, I have seen them a lot in the wild. I can absolutely confirm that the charismatic megafauna of Africa are one of the true glories of our planet, and conserving the endangered species there is one of the greatest challenges that we face as a planet.

Whatever the arguments about trophy hunting—whether or not it provides money for conservation—it surely cannot be right that protecting these endangered species relies on allowing rich people to kill them. That is not a long-term sustainable solution. I urge the Government, working with international partners, to do all that they can to ensure that conservation efforts across African countries and other areas where there are endangered animals are properly funded and are not reliant on rich people killing endangered animals.

Photo of Margaret Ferrier Margaret Ferrier Independent, Rutherglen and Hamilton West 10:28, 17 March 2023

I am pleased to see the Bill return to the Chamber for its final Commons hurdle. Henry Smith has done an outstanding job and is a dedicated advocate for the cause. I wish to thank organisations and individuals for their continued work on the campaign to see the Bill pass, and for the briefings that they have provided.

I have been disappointed to see the persistent lobbying from certain interest groups against this legislation, often intentionally based on misinformation and on hiding behind the transparent and false veil of conservation. I spoke in some detail on Second Reading about the misrepresentation of those purporting to be conservationists and I do not wish to repeat myself today. However, it does not take much scratching at the surface to see that what many of these lobbyists are looking for is the conservation of hunting for sport, rather than anything environmental. When we look at who is funding their deeply biased works, it becomes all the clearer.

On Second Reading, I argued that trophy hunting was an ugly relic of the colonial era. Let me now add that trophy hunting and poaching are, in fact, illegal for locals in these countries. It is ironic that those who seek to protect the highly profitable western white trophy hunting tourist industry might find themselves under the spotlight of that very same colonial accusation. In that context, I pay tribute to a man who has seen at first hand the positive impact of hunting bans to protect his country's beautiful wildlife: the former president of Botswana, Ian Khama. He has urged Members to support the Bill today,

“to halt the reckless, cruel destruction of nature’s wildlife by nature’s enemies”.

I would further add that the UK Government and, more important, the UK public have every right to decide that they do not want these macabre, mangled animal body parts to enter the country or to circulate here for profit. Preventing that is what the Bill will ultimately achieve. As we have heard, it will not change the law in other countries, or outlaw hunting there. Polling has shown unequivocally that the British public, including many of my constituents, support an outright ban on trophy imports, and do not support proposals for a partial ban or “smart bans”.

In 2020, the Government consulted on banning the import of hunting trophies. Their subsequent policy statement said:

“Within the consultation, we asked whether exemptions should be considered, for example for conservation reasons. We note the strength of sentiment from those who did not support exemptions, and there will be no exemptions for hunting trophies from species in scope of the ban.”

It is clear that some of the exemptions that some Members were trying to include in the Bill were not in keeping with public feeling—the public feeling that the Government were able to test through public consultation It is also clear that including any exemptions to a ban would undermine the very purpose of the legislation. Where we allow loopholes to exist, we also allow people to find ways of exploiting them.

I think it is fair to say that participants in this “sport” come from one main demographic—rich white men, and sometimes rich white women—and it is those in that same demographic whom the proceeds benefit. They are seeking to protect their financial interests at the cost of the existence of some of the world's most beautiful animals, the conservation of natural resources of wildlife in Africa, and Africa’s communities. I therefore urge all Members on both sides of the House to throw their full support behind the hon. Member for Crawley and his Bill, which is a critical and overdue change for the better.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. Could everyone who is trying to catch my eye please stand up? It is a bit confusing if only one Member does so.

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Chair, Committee of Selection, Chair, Committee of Selection, Chair, Committee of Selection 10:32, 17 March 2023

I will keep my comments fairly brief. I was enjoying the debate until Margaret Ferrier “poked the bear”, so to speak. Let me also say how nice it was to hear from the former leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn. We would like to hear more from him, more frequently.

Like the right hon. Gentleman, I am very sensitive about racism, and I spoke out against the Bill because I fundamentally believed that it was a neo-colonial attempt to control the conservation management programmes of African democratic countries. I know that not one of us here today is a racist or has that really nasty streak of wanting to judge people by the colour of their skin, but we must be desperately careful not to signal to emerging countries that we know best.

Representatives from Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia who are involved with conservation activities in KAZA—the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area—have asked:

“What right do they have to impose restrictions that will damage our wildlife and our people?”

The UK Government support KAZA through funding, yet ethical hunting is part of the ambitious “five African nations conservation endeavour” to provide habitat and connectivity for wildlife across borders in an area measuring more than 110 million acres, which is double the size of the United Kingdom. The Bill will therefore have a contradictory effect on our policy directed at supporting African conservation efforts, which is why I am so grateful to the Government for accepting new clause 4.

On Second Reading, the UK was described as a world leader in nature conservation, but a global league table of efforts to conserve mega-fauna—large animals—puts pro-hunting Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania first, second and third in the world. In contrast, the UK is 123rd, so it is important to get this right. Many hon. Members watch David Attenborough on television. He recently described the UK as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, so perhaps we should adopt a more humble approach to countries with far more impressive conservation records—rather than insulting Africans, we should be consulting them on the issue.

I am grateful to the Government for recognising that. I am also grateful to my hon. Friend Henry Smith, who passionately cares about animals, as I do. We have to debate our differences of opinion in the Chamber to make sure that everybody comes on that journey to a better future for our children and our planet.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois Conservative, Rayleigh and Wickford 10:34, 17 March 2023

I rise to support the important Bill of my hon. Friend Henry Smith to ban United Kingdom imports of trophy hunting trophies. I begin by declaring a personal interest: this was a particular passion of our great friend, the late Sir David Amess. I knew him for more than 20 years in Parliament, although he was elected far earlier than me, on 9 June 1983—coincidently, as I understand, the same day as my hon. Friend Sir Christopher Chope. I must confess that I am not an expert on the subject, but I know that my late friend desperately wanted such legislation to pass, so I hope that the House will understand my simple motive for being here.

It is good to be supported in the task by his excellent successor, my hon. Friend Anna Firth, who is in her place beside me. Among those closely watching the debate on this crucial Bill will be members of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, led by its redoubtable founder Mrs Lorraine Platt, who has campaigned tirelessly on this issue and many others related to animal welfare for years. She was also a great friend of Sir David, and I know that she and her organisation will wish the Bill well. It is almost as if he was with us today.

On 2 October 2019, in a Westminster Hall debate on trophy hunting imports, Sir David said:

“I recognise that there is no easy solution;
200,000 endangered animals are put at risk each year, which is an awful lot to deal with. It is so depressing that as soon as someone comes up with an idea to stop trophy hunters, these evil, wicked people get ahead of the game and find some way round the legislation.”

I do not mean to provoke my hon. Friend Sir Bill Wiggin, because he and I came into this place on the same day in 2001, but Sir David went on to say:

“I do not minimise the difficulty the Government face, but I simply cannot comprehend why anyone would pay up to $72,000 to travel across the world and shoot a beautiful animal. As I have said at business questions, I have seen numerous adverts for trophy hunting, with some companies even advertising price lists by trip length…by animal on offer and by trophy fee. Such adverts should be completely banned from all platforms in the United Kingdom.”—[Official Report, 2 October 2019;
Vol. 664, c. 345WH.]

I hope that, in this deliberately brief contribution, I have made my point. David was cruelly taken from us in absolutely tragic circumstances, but his memory lives on. He was an amazing champion for animal welfare. I hope it is not presumptuous, but I am honoured to stand here today perhaps in lieu of him, supported by his worthy successor my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West, to make the case for this vital Bill. If he were here, he would thank her and the entire House for what we are about to do, so I humbly say thank you as well.

Photo of Anna Firth Anna Firth Conservative, Southend West 10:39, 17 March 2023

I rise also as the Member for Southend West, not only to extend my congratulations to my hon. Friend Henry Smith for his brilliant leadership in bringing this important Bill to its final stages in the House of Commons, but also to remember the late Sir David Amess’s decades-long advocacy on this issue. I thank my right hon. Friend Mr Francois for his contribution and what he said about Sir David.

I know Sir David would have supported this Bill and he would have been cheering my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley on at every stage of its passage. It has been my huge honour to support the Bill at every stage, not just in Sir David’s honour and legacy, but because it is the right thing to do.

Photo of Christina Rees Christina Rees Labour/Co-operative, Neath

Sir David was very kind to me from the first day I came into Parliament and he encouraged me to work on animal welfare matters. It is very appropriate that Eduardo Gonçalves’ latest book, “Saving Sally: Trophy Hunters, Secrets and Lies” is dedicated to the memory of Sir David.

Photo of Anna Firth Anna Firth Conservative, Southend West

I thank the hon. Lady very much for that contribution, which I will pass on to Lady Amess and the family.

Through this Bill we are asserting that these wonderful, magnificent animals—elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards and so on—some of them on the brink of extension, are worth so much more than a mere trophy on the mantelpiece. Trophy hunting is a relic of the past. It has no place in modern Britain. We are standing up as one in this House against those who seek to destroy wildlife and asserting our leading role as an advocate for wildlife protection.

Photo of Dean Russell Dean Russell Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 10:42, 17 March 2023

I will be brief, because I know many hon. Members would have loved to speak in the debate today. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Henry Smith for this Bill and to my hon. Friends the Members for North Herefordshire (Sir Bill Wiggin) and for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) for doing something that has enabled this important Bill to safeguard animals to go through. We have seen an outpouring of support for the Bill across the nation, from hon. Members, the Government and the general public. I pay tribute to them all and thank them. I am sure that, like me, many hon. Members have cancelled constituency events to be here to support the Bill; I support it wholeheartedly and I thank the House for supporting it too.

Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 10:43, 17 March 2023

It is a real pleasure to be able to speak so soon in this debate—I am not sure we thought we would get here so quickly, but I am pleased that we have. The Labour party is strongly committed to a ban on hunting trophy imports, reflected by the number of colleagues here on a Friday—and on all sides of the House, in fact. It was a manifesto commitment of ours in the last election and I am delighted to say that we shall support the Bill today.

I pay tribute to the late Labour MP for Waveney, Bob Blizzard, who was one of the founders of the campaign to ban trophy hunting. This Bill is part of his legacy. I thank his partner Jane Evans and his friend Eduardo Gonçalves, who have worked tirelessly on the campaign and have been a particular help to me. I also echo Members across the House in their tribute to Sir David Amess and his work on this matter.

Like Henry Smith and people across the country, I was shocked and horrified at the killing of Cecil the lion by an American trophy hunter in 2015 and at the needlessly cruel manner in which Cecil died. He had been left to drown in his own lung blood, simply because the hunter wanted to win a special prize for shooting a lion with a bow and arrow. However, I was even more shocked and horrified to learn that, since 2015, British trophy hunters have brought more than 100 trophies of lions from Africa into the UK. Indeed, what British hunters are doing is arguably worse than what Cecil suffered, because he lived in the wild in Zimbabwe and was 13 when he was killed; some British trophy hunters, on the other hand, fly to Africa where they shoot tame lions that have been hand-reared since they were born merely to become a hunter’s trophy.

It turns out that lions are not the only African animals British hunters are shooting: they are shooting as trophies many other threatened species in Africa and around the world, and all this has happened since 2015, the year when the world supposedly woke up to the horror of trophy hunting—the year when we all thought the killing of Cecil would bring us to our senses and put an end to this horror story once and for all.

How wrong we were. We consider ourselves a nation of animal lovers, and rightly so. However, the things British trophy hunters do should shame us all. Here are the prizes that just one British trophy hunter has won from Safari Club International: the hunting achievement diamond award, for shooting animals from 125 different species; the animals of Africa gold award, for shooting at least 61 different African animals; and the global hunting gold award, for shooting 50 different animals on five different continents. The British hunter in question has gone on to win over 30 more of these awards.

Safari Club International, which handed out those prizes, has a branch in Britain. It has been actively working to undermine and block the Bill that we are considering today. It has spent over £1 million on a disinformation campaign—other Members have mentioned that. Investigations by the Washington Post revealed it to be the work of an ally of Donald Trump who was revealed to have set up a number of fake news groups to promote extreme right-wing causes and who tried to create an astroturf campaign.

Africans are as shocked and horrified at trophy hunting as we are. They are vehemently opposed to people jetting in from around the world to wipe out their wildlife and natural heritage for so-called “sport”. A very recent poll in South Africa, the hub of the African trophy hunting industry, showed that, even there, fully 68% of people are against trophy hunting.

Many of us recently received a letter from the former President of Botswana, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who banned all trophy hunting in his country. He told us how banning trophy hunting not only benefited threatened species such as elephants—Botswana is now home to one third of all of Africa’s elephants—but brought prosperity to local communities, created more jobs and opportunities for local people and improved living conditions through investment in photo-safaris instead.

The example of Kenya, which banned trophy hunting in the 1970s, should be applauded and encouraged. While lion, elephant and rhino populations are falling throughout much of Africa, their numbers are all increasing in Kenya. It is of economic benefit to the people as well. Just compare the conditions of the Kenyan Maasai with those of neighbouring Tanzania, where trophy hunting is still legal; 20,000 Tanzanian Maasai are homeless due to land clearance.

It is time to act. We can say that it is wrong for British people to kill animals for pleasure and mementoes. We can set an example. Writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah perhaps put it best when he said:

“We human beings have a responsibility to look after this planet and its animals. We need to put trophy hunting in the dustbin of history, alongside the slave trade, female infanticide, and witch-hunting.”

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley

I welcome the passage of this Bill, not least because I will not have to move my own Bill next Friday. However, is there a danger that we might be slightly complacent, given how far advanced we are in the parliamentary calendar? The Bill will pass with overwhelming support in this House. The question is whether some of those elements my hon. Friend has been describing may try to exercise delay in the other House. Has he sought any assurances from the Minister that the Government will ensure that that does not happen and that, if necessary, they will provide extra parliamentary time?

Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I thank my right hon. Friend for his intervention. I have had fruitful discussions with the Minister, who I am sure will respond to his point when she speaks, but I know the Government are as keen as we are to see this Bill on the statute book: there is no division between our parties on this.

I will conclude by finishing my quote from Benjamin Zephaniah:

“Let’s support the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.”

I hope we can get this Bill through shortly.

10.48 am

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I thank all Members who have contributed to the debate, and I also thank those Members who, sadly, are not able to contribute to the debate but have been instrumental in enabling this day to happen. In particular, I refer to our hon. Friend the former Member for Southend West. He was taken far too soon, and his contribution to this place was more than many of us will ever make; my right hon. Friend Mr Francois set that out eloquently. The former Member for Waveney also cannot be here to debate a subject that was so important to him. And, dare I say it, Cecil the lion has not died in vain. It is an emotional day for all of us, for many reasons, but I am pleased to be here to support the Bill, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Henry Smith once again for his efforts in getting it to what is nearly the final stage.

John Spellar raised his concern, and I cannot say it is not also my concern. I want this Bill to pass through the other place, as I know other Members here today do. I am grateful for the meeting I had this morning with the hon. Members for Oldham West and Royton (Jim McMahon) and for Leeds North West (Alex Sobel) to discuss how that might be possible, because it is of such significance to all parties across the House.

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley

It looks as though we have more time in the parliamentary calendar running up to the autumn, but can the Government send a clear message to any who might be tempted to cause disruption and delay in the other place, to ensure that there is sufficient parliamentary time for this measure to go through in this Session?

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The right hon. Gentleman invites me to make promises on timings that I simply cannot make. However, some of the concerns that have been raised today and that will be raised in the other place relate to how we will support the countries affected by this ban on the import of trophies, so I would like to briefly set out the work the Government are undertaking. It includes £90 million for the Darwin initiative and Darwin Plus, to address biodiversity challenges and support local communities; £30 million for action on illegal wildlife trade; and the £100 million biodiverse landscapes fund, to work across six landscapes to protect and restore critical terrestrial ecosystems.

I do recognise that some of the income from trophy hunting has contributed to the protection of habitat and the prevention of poaching, but bringing in the body parts of endangered species, as clearly set out in CITES I and II lists, is not the way forward. This Government recognise that, and this country recognises that, and I am clear that it is time for change. It is what the public expect, and we know that because over 85% of respondents to the consultation made it clear, but this will remain controversial. That is why we were willing to accept new clause 4, tabled by my hon. Friend Sir Christopher Chope, which will set up an advisory board to the Government, and to respect the work that CITES does internationally, which is why we were willing to accept amendment 1, tabled by my hon. Friend Sir Bill Wiggin.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice Conservative, Camborne and Redruth

My hon. Friend makes an important point. There is cross-party support for the Bill, with Members on both sides of the House wanting it to proceed well in the other place. Does she agree that, now that this concession has been made—a generous concession, I might add—to curtail significantly the regulation-making powers in clause 2, there is nothing for their lordships to object to? Normally, they object to so-called Henry VIII powers, but those have been completely removed, so it should be possible to expedite the progress of the Bill in the other place.

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My right hon. Friend is correct. We have accepted this amendment because we want the Bill to progress in not only the Commons but the Lords.

The import ban will cover all species listed in annexes A and B of the wildlife trade regulations, broadly aligned with appendices 1 and 2 of CITES. That extends to around 6,000 species, including those mentioned in the House.

I take the opportunity to recognise again the concerns that have been raised about Northern Ireland, and the risk, referred to by my right hon. Friend Sammy Wilson, that Northern Ireland would become a backdoor. He queried how we would make progress and clearly set out that he very much wants to be part of the UK. Let me reassure the House that we will do everything we possibly can to ensure that Northern Ireland will not be a backdoor for so-called trophies from endangered species to enter Scotland, England or Wales. Northern Ireland will not be a stepping stone for imports to Great Britain.

In Committee, we discussed the workings of the Bill, and how it operated alongside the Northern Ireland protocol and the UK internal market. Since then, the Government have published the Windsor framework.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

I hope that I made it clear that my concern is not only that Northern Ireland could become a backdoor, but that it would be exempt from the legislation so people who engage in trophy hunting could operate freely in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland protocol does not stop it and the Windsor framework does not stop it. Can the Minister give us an assurance that the Government will take action to stop imports coming into Northern Ireland—full stop—just as they would be banned from the rest of the United Kingdom?

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I would like to put on record that our current controls on imports will continue to apply to Northern Ireland, under the current CITES controls, in line with the Northern Ireland protocol and the Windsor framework. We will continue to scrutinise import permit applications carefully, ensuring that they will not be moved onwards. Movements of hunting trophies from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will be subject to the import ban, unless they are qualifying Northern Ireland goods, in line with the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020. But we will continue to review this and continue to work with my right hon. Friend as we make progress.

Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Brexit)

The Minister says that the Government will seek to do this using the CITES legislation. If that were the case, there would be no need for the Bill. The Bill is required because additional action is needed to stop people going and cruelly hunting down animals in other parts of the world and bringing them back as trophies to the United Kingdom. I want to know how the Minister intends to ensure that Northern Ireland trophy hunters do not have licence that they do not have in other parts of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My right hon. Friend makes a convincing point, but it should be recognised that this is a Brexit opportunity. We would not be able to make this progress across Great Britain if we were still in the European Union. It is not ideal; I would be the first person to state that clearly. We want to make further progress. We will make further progress, I am sure. I will continue to meet with those in Northern Ireland, as will my officials.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

Does the Minister accept that, apparently, the Netherlands, despite being within the European Union, has imposed a complete ban on trophy imports? If the Netherlands can do it, why can it not be done in respect of Northern Ireland?

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Madam Deputy Speaker, you will excuse me from being drawn into that wider argument. To return to the crux of this debate, since the Bill Committee, we have published the environmental improvement plan, setting out our goal in the UK, across our country, to see thriving plants and wildlife, and how we are going to achieve that. The UK is supporting other countries to take action, working together with a shared commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, as we agreed at the UN nature summit COP15 in Montreal last year.

I know that we want to get a great many other Bills through today, so I will close. I thank and commend my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley for his relentless determination. I thank other Members from across the House, particularly Christina Rees. She and I have met and I know that she feels passionately about this subject, and I was pleased to work with her. I thank my hon. Friends on the Front Bench, who have worked collegiately to ensure that this House passes the Bill—I am incredibly grateful for that. I am pleased that Members have contributed not just today but previously.

We are sending to the rest of the world the strong message that we in this country demonstrate where we can our support for endangered species across the world, as set out in CITES, and we do not accept their body parts being used as so-called trophies to be brought back into this country.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.